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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CC001:

In 1912, Charles Dawson and Arthur Smith Woodward announced the discovery of a mandible and part of a skull from a gravel pit near Piltdown, England. The mandible was apelike except for humanlike wear on the teeth; the skull was like a modern human. These bones became the basis for Eoanthropus dawsoni, commonly known as Piltdown Man, interpreted as a 500,000-year-old British ape-man. But in the early 1950s, it was found that the jawbone was stained and filed down to give its appearance and that the skull was a recent human fossil. In short, Piltdown Man was a fraud. British scientists believed it because they wanted to. The failure to expose it sooner shows that scientists tend to be guided by their preconceptions.


Gish, Duane T., 1985. Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record. El Cajon, CA: Creation-Life Publishers, pp. 188-190.


  1. Piltdown man was exposed by scientists. The fact that it took forty years is certainly no shining example of science in action, but it does show that science corrects errors.

    Preconceptions are an unavoidable problem in just about any investigation, but they are less so in science because first, different scientists often have different preconceptions, and second, the physical evidence must always be accounted for. Many scientists from America and Europe did not accept Piltdown Man uncritically, and the hoax unraveled when the fossils could not be reconciled with other hominid fossil finds.

  2. One hoax cannot indicate the inferiority of conventional archeology, because creationists have several of their own, including Paluxy footprints, the Calaveras skull, Moab and Malachite Man, and others. More telling is how people deal with these hoaxes. When Piltdown was exposed, it stopped being used as evidence. The creationist hoaxes, however, can still be found cited as if they were real. Piltdown has been over and done with for decades, but the dishonesty of creationist hoaxes continues.


Harter, Richard, 1996. Piltdown Man: The bogus bones caper.
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created 2003-6-2, modified 2004-3-5